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NLC seeks Sh20.8b to fund projects

LETTERS
By Peter Theuri | March 11th 2021
National Land Commission Chairman Gershom Otachi (left) with Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i during the launch of the commission’s 2021-26 strategic plan last week. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The National Land Commission (NLC) says it is struggling to execute its mandate due to perennial underfunding, with allocations often less than a quarter of its budgetary requirements.

In the 2020-21 financial year, the allocation stood at Sh1.23 billion, approximately 27 per cent of NLC budgetary estimates on recurrent and development expenditure.

“The commission continues to receive inadequate budgetary allocations despite the critical role it plays in facilitating the national development agenda,” says NLC in its 2021-26 strategic plan.

“Noteworthy, the commission’s average absorption rate has been maintained at 95 per cent over the last six years.”

NLC is one of the constitutional commissions and independent o?ces established under Chapter 15 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

It was constituted in 2012 following the enactment of the National Land Commission Act, 2012 and its inaugural commissioners assumed o?ce on February 27, 2013.

In 2014-15 financial year, NLC received Sh1.54 billion against an estimated budget of Sh7.23 billion, with the bulk of it expected to be for recurrent expenditure at Sh6.72 billion.

The following year, the allocation reduced to Sh1.53 billion, in spite of the commission’s increased budget of Sh14 billion.

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Financial requirements

NLC now says it needs Sh20.75 billion to fully implement the strategic plan.

“The ?nancial requirements for the planning period are expected to grow marginally over the ?rst three years from Sh3.45 billion to Sh5.162 billion and reduce to Sh3.59 billion by the last year,” reads the commission’s strategic plan.

Management and administration of public land will take up the biggest share, with an allocation of Sh8.67 billion. Institutional strengthening will account for Sh5.8 billion.

The commission, currently chaired by Gershom Otachi, is broadly charged with management and administration of public land on behalf of the national and county governments.

In doing this, the commission has had to deal with a raft of critical issues that hamper development, which it claims “are directly or indirectly related to land and land-based resources.”

These problems include poor and unsustainable land use practices in urban and rural areas, competing land requirements for commerce, industry and infrastructural  development particularly in urban areas, and land disputes and con?icts.

Others are unsustainable management and use of natural resources and environmental degradation. Climate change and deserti?cation, alongside poor land governance and management, have also affected land administration by NLC.

And although the commission reiterates the need for concerted e?orts on resource mobilisation from the government, development partners and stakeholders, it relies heavily on allocations from the government, which have lately hampered operations.

 

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